OscarExperience A CT Bash

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oscar1oscar2There were colored tights (think makeup artist Julie Dartnell) and kilts ( think “Brave” director Mark Andrews) and it wasn’t even the red carpet at the Kodak Theater. It was the one at the Mark Twain House & Museum!

Yep, when it came to fashion Sunday night, Hartford’s OscarExperience party was about as near to the real thing as Connecticut could get Hollywood.

Sunday’s bash, hosted for the first time by the new, merged AIDS CT organization, was the state’s only Oscar sanctioned Academy Award party. And it had it all, lights, action, and a welcoming red carpet… with a good dose of swag, gossip, and good old Hollywood glam thrown in for good measure.

“This is too fun,” said “after 5” clad Marilee James, who won tickets to the event in a silent auction at another non-profit fundraiser several months ago.

“There was just something fun about pulling out a gown and spending some extra time getting your hair and makeup ready,” said the 29-year-old, ice blue glitter-gowned New Haven student who came with girlfriends. “I didn’t see any of the Oscar movies nominated and really don’t care who wins,” she said as she prepared for her sashay down the red carpet. “I just want to have some fun.”

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And fun it was with some of the fashion closely mimicking what was being worn on stage a couple of thousand miles away. Hartford fashion plate Jennifer DeBella rocked brightly colored tights with her evening wear as did Dartnell when she picked up her Oscar early in that awards show. West Hartford salon owner and artist Rick Bach, dressed in a lilt, must have unknowingly channeled some award-winning Andrews, who also showed up on the other coast dressed in similar wear.

Swag anyone? While the swag bags at the Oscars were valued at a cool $48,000 each, AIDS CT put together some pretty sweet freebies that for some lucky recipients included a key to a Mercedes Benz for a weekend.

While pastels and brights ruled the West coast red carpet, over here on the East Coast the trends were tieless, vintage or sequins.

Among those decked out in sequins was Java’s red carpet co-hostess, WTNH traffic reporter Teresa LaBarbera in slinky gold sequins.

And in between interviewing a red carpet of eclectic guests, she had time to buzz about her upcoming nuptials to fiancée Brandon Dufour.

“We’re going to take the chance and have our wedding on New Year’s Eve,” explained LaBarbera. After the church ceremony, the black and white themed party will move to the Palace Theater. Her one wish…no bad weather that night.

Among the tieless chaps was AIDS CT executive director John Merz, sporting a tux with a Lauren striped dress shirt.

“It’s a new style for me,” he explained not long before the guests started arriving and many other men were sporting the same kind of look.

And then there were those who took advantage of the “dress up in a costume” option for the evening.

Among them, Hartford resident Maggie Clapis, a professional New York City costume designer who spent 70 hours one Marie Antoinette costume.

“I know there is no Marie Antoinette movie but I wanted to do something grand,” she explained, twirling in her voluminous pink moire satin corseted gown and powdered wig. “This just seemed like the kind of occasion to wear something like this.”

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